March 27, 2024

Whitehouse & Reed Deliver $201k for Adoption RI to Improve Training for Child Welfare Professionals

PROVIDENCE, RI – In an effort to better serve the unique and complex needs of children and families connected to foster care and adoption, U.S. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed have partnered with Adoption Rhode Island (ARI) and the Rhode Island College (RIC) School of Social Work to update and revive a specialized certificate program to help address the workforce shortages in human services and child welfare in Rhode Island.

Senators Whitehouse and Reed today joined ARI CEO and Executive Director, Darlene Allen; RIC School of Social Work Assistant Professor, Dr. Mary J. Archibald; Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) Director, Ashley Deckert; and advocates with lived experience to announce and celebrate a $201,639 earmark to reestablish the Adoption and Foster Care Certificate Program and help equip child welfare professionals with the skills they need to better support people whose lives have been touched by adoption and foster care.

“I want to thank the entire team at Adoption Rhode Island for their strong advocacy for children across our state,” said Senator Whitehouse.  “The adults who work with kids going through adoption and foster care can make a lasting positive difference in their lives.  We secured this federal funding to revive a professional development program at Rhode Island College that will provide child welfare workers with specialized training for supporting children and families as they navigate uncertainty and hope.”

“We need to enhance and expand support systems for children and families that have experienced adoption and foster care.  The first step in doing this is ensuring that child welfare professionals are equipped with the right tools to best tailor their services and assistance.  Adoption Rhode Island’s collaboration with RIC is a critical partnership that will help ensure social workers on the ground have the skills they need to best assist children and their families in adoption and foster care,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee. “Every child is full of potential and with the right support, they will reach it.”

Whitehouse and Reed secured this federal earmark in the fiscal year 2023 appropriations law to support ongoing professional development opportunities for child welfare professionals that center the voices of those with lived experiences. 

Darlene Allen, CEO of Adoption Rhode Island noted: “I am very thankful that Senator Reed and Senator Whitehouse delivered critical resources for this project. By partnering with Rhode Island College, and centering the experiences of young people with lived experience in foster care, I am confident this newly re-imagined certificate program will have a positive impact on Rhode Island’s child welfare workforce.”

The Adoption and Foster Care Certification Program is an educational certificate program developed by ARI, RIC School of Social Work, and DCYF with the goal of building skills and knowledge for clinicians, social service providers, educators, and others.

In an effort to improve the certificate program, ARI and RIC are redesigning the curriculum and structure of the program in order to make it more accessible and relevant to current needs in the field and to help address workforce shortages in human services and child welfare in Rhode Island.

Adoption Rhode Island estimates that the program will relaunch as an online course in the summer of 2024.

Adoption Rhode Island, RIC, and DCYF have collaboratively managed the development and ongoing coordination of the Adoption and Foster Care Certificate Program since 2006. These organizations bring decades of expertise and experience in adoption and foster care, complex trauma, social work education and practice, adult learning, and professional development.

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921